Sunday, April 20, 2014

Links for the week ending 20 April 2014

"The principal struggles to explain to students how the segregation they experience is any different from the old version simply because no law requires it. 'It is hard, it is a tough conversation, and it is a conversation I don’t think we as adults want to have.'" This link is to the full-text version of Nicole Hannah-Jones' report for ProPublica on the resegregation of schools in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. You can see the Snowfall-style full graphic version here.

"Even in Mississippi, where a higher percentage of students get physically disciplined than in any other state, the paddle is starting to lose some of its might. The number of beatings fell 33 percent between 2008 and 2012, according to a report by the Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson." Sarah Carr at The Nation. (Via Dana Goldstein.)

"They all say they don’t really trust police or each other, that they are still trying to forgive the system and the shooter. They all say there is no justice here." Another multipart Snowfall-style series, this one on witness intimidation and suspicion of the cops in Chattanooga, Tennessee. By Joan Garrett McClane for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. (I can't remember how I got to this one, but if it was via you, thanks!)

"But the zones have ballooned to include entire cities. They now hit almost any urban drug crime with an extra felony, one that was meant to punish dealing to school kids. Meanwhile, drug offenders in whiter, wealthier, spread-out suburbs and towns rarely face the same consequences. " Christie Thompson at ThinkProgress on the racial inequalities created by drug-free school zone laws.

"Missouri’s lifetime ban on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, for people convicted of a drug-related felony is an artifact of the welfare reform effort of 1996. Most states have modified or removed the lifetime ban. Missouri is one of 10 states that have not." Marie French for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. (Via @prisonculture.)

"He is allowed to work up to 35 hours per week, but is usually assigned fewer, and he is never assigned enough to live on. If a worker gets 40 hours per week, he tells me, the manager could lose his bonus." Sarah Kendzior profiles fast-food workers in St. Louis, organizing to change working conditions that guarantee nothing but generations raised in poverty. At Medium. (Via David Hull.)

"Bernie likes to think of his job as if he’s building a baseball team. He knows he’s got to fill so many slots with so many applicants, but there’s potentially some wiggle room in how he does that. Can the guy who applied for first base play right field instead? What about the pitcher?" Fascinating piece by Monica Hesse at The Washington Post on staffing a newly planned Ohio factory.

"With fewer landing spots in the middle, the structure becomes less sound. This is the question buried in the rhetoric about the higher education crisis: what is college when there is no middle?" Tressie McMillan Cottom at Dissent about how the end of good middle-class jobs has hollowed out the advantage of a college education.

"She lies because she thinks she has to, because of the legal document she signed during her fourth month at Bagram air base, after she sneaked over to the hospital and asked to see the person who handles sexual assaults, after a nurse took Polaroid photos of bruises on her neck and scratches on her back, collected swabs and hair samples and put them in a brown paper bag." Stephanie McCrummen for The Washington Post on the terrible choice given to soldiers who have suffered sexual assault.

"Deregulating campaign finance is clearly part of his long-term project. In the course of his opinion, the chief justice made some moves that are worth highlighting for the way in which they illuminate both his method and his priorities." Linda Greenhouse on the Roberts Supreme Court, for the NYT. (Via Irin Carmon.)

"Both Intuit and CCIA declined to answer questions about their connections to the letters and op-eds. An Intuit spokeswoman, Julie Miller, said in an emailed statement that Intuit works with many types of groups to support 'taxpayer empowerment,' and 'we feel all points of view deserve to be heard.'" Liz Day at ProPublica on the not-so-grassroots campaign against prefilled tax returns.

"The United States spends more than $50 billion a year on spying and intelligence, while the folks who build important defense software — in this case a program called OpenSSL that ensures that your connection to a website is encrypted — are four core programmers, only one of whom calls it a full-time job." Julia Angwin on the Heartbleed bug for ProPublica.

" A military judge abruptly recessed the first 9/11 trial hearing of the year Monday after defense lawyers accused the FBI in open court of trying to turn a defense team security officer into a secret informant." Carol Rosenberg for the Miami Herald.

"From Homs to Damascus, even in landscapes of crushed and charred buildings, new posters of Mr. Assad are appearing, with an electioneering flavor. Anne Barnard for the NYT on proposed presidential elections in Syria.

For now though, no one is publicly questioning how and why the Kunming attackers organized the assault, why they chose that city, why authorities were unable to prevent it and why it took 10 minutes for an armed SWAT team officer to arrive on the scene and shoot five assailants." Julie Makinen at the LAT on suppression of discussion about the knife attacks at a Chinese railway station. (Via David Hull.)

"Protests continued into the next evening, and as June 5 turned into June 6, a crowd broke into one of the city's smartest hotels, the Jinjiang. It was there, under the gaze of foreign guests, that ." At NPR, Louisa Lim writes about a single elderly woman determined to keep alive the memory of a massacre in the Chinese city of Chengdu that took place at the same time as the brutal suppression of protests in Tiananmen Square.

"Then he told me, very tenderly, that it can be dangerous to believe things just because you want them to be true. You can get tricked if you don’t question yourself and others, especially people in a position of authority." Sasha Sagan at New York Magazine on her father, Carl. (Via Nilanjana Roy.)

"Drilling operations at several natural gas wells in southwestern Pennsylvania released methane into the atmosphere at rates that were 100 to 1,000 times greater than federal regulators had estimated, new research shows." Neela Benerjee at the LAT. (Via Kate Sheppard.)

"The growing placenta literally burrows through this layer, rips into arterial walls and re-wires them to channel blood straight to the hungry embryo. It delves deep into the surrounding tissues, razes them and pumps the arteries full of hormones so they expand into the space created. It paralyzes these arteries so the mother cannot even constrict them." Pregnancy as war between the mother and the fetus, and the menstruation that evolved as a result, by Suzanne Sadedin at Quora. (Hat tip to Sheila Avelin.)

"The owners of Hobby Lobby believe that IUDs actually cause abortions. Birth control activists say IUDs never cause abortions, and work by preventing pregnancy, just like you’d expect birth control to do. Who is right?" Nice piece by Maggie Koerth-Baker at Boing Boing explaining the facts and the ambiguities about IUDs. (Hat tip to Rebecca Jeschke.)

"So, from 2001 until February of this year, I spent at least $60,000 in health insurance and associated medical costs (routine doctor’s visits, medication and the like) that were not covered by insurance. One could counter that my insurance premiums bought me peace of mind — but not with a $15,000 deductible for myself and my children." Writer Elizabeth Hand singing the praises of her new, affordable insurance. At Salon. (Via @rsp1661.)

"She is talking these girls back from a place where Cobain’s suicide appears reasonable, justifiable, attractive. She is showing them the other side of suicide: the aftermath. She is the aftermath." From two weeks ago at Guernica, Candace Opper on Kurt Cobain's suicide — and the way it changed how we talked about suicide prevention. (Via Jody T.)

"You die the way you live; you divorce the way you live. When, in 1990, my parents filed for joint custody of me, they thought they were doing something without clear precedent." At n+1, Claire Harlan Orsi on growing up in between two homes. (Via Mara Smith.)

"A lot of young people are rescued by art. And comics and cartoons, because they are so abstracted—a pure art form that is only very loosely tethered to the so-called real world—are maybe particularly useful for that." I gotta be honest and say that I am not entirely sure what this is, but it's by Maria Bustillos and it's published by The Awl and it's making me think that maybe the Cartoon Network went on to do worthwhile things even after the demise of my dearly beloved Space Ghost: Coast to Coast.

"Bless the teenagers of Central Asia. These kids weren't eagle hunting but they were certainly better than me in almost every way: kinder, more generous, more spontaneous, more loving, more brave." Ah, Jia Tolentino at The Hairpin saying more in two paragraphs than most of us will ever say in our entire lives.

"Do we have kitten posters hanging above our desks? If we do, who can say that we do not work in an office?" Finally, because anything containing an Elizabeth Bishop joke automatically wins the week, Patricia Lockwood at The Poetry Foundation asking: is poetry work? (Via Stephen Burt.)